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National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH
U.S. Public Health Service, DHHS

RFA: HL-04-017

Specialized Centers for Cell-Based Therapy (SCCT)
for Heart, Lung, and Blood Diseases and
Data and Coordinating Center (DCC)

May 2004





  1. Face Page (Form Page 1)
  2. Description, Performance Sites, and Key Personnel (Form Page 2)
  3. Research Grant Table of Contents
  4. Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period
  5. Budget for Entire Proposed Period (Form Page 5)
  6. Biographical Sketch (Biographical Sketch Format Page)
  7. Resources
  8. Research Plan
  9. Appendixes
  10. Format of a Core Unit


Table 1 - Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period

Table 2 - Relation of Core Units to Research Projects

A. Introduction

These instructions provide information needed for preparation of an application for a Specialized Center for Cell-based Therapy (SCCT) described in the announcement “Specialized Centers for Cell-Based Therapy (SCCT) for Heart, Lung, and Blood Diseases and Data and Coordinating Center (DCC),” RFA HL-04-017 at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-HL-04-017.html.

Applicants preparing submissions for the Data & Coordinating Center for RFA HL-04-017 should not use these instructions. Instead these applicants should use the general instructions for preparation of NIH grant applications that are contained in the standard NIH grant application kit (PHS Form 398).The most recent version is available at http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.

B. General Information

General instructions for preparation of NIH grant applications are contained in the standard NIH grant application kit (PHS Form 398) available on the internet at http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html and usually available at an applicant institution's business office. Even though the application kit is intended primarily for the regular research-project grant, some of the general instructions and forms in it also apply to SCCT grant applications. However, SCCT grants have special characteristics. Accordingly, the specific instructions in this document were prepared for use with the grant application kit. The application should not be prepared as a modular grant as described in the PHS 398. If questions arise, it is recommended that applicants contact staff at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. To the extent possible, the Institute is prepared to discuss plans for developing an application. Inquiries about preparation of SCCT applications should be addressed to:

John Thomas, Ph.D.
Division of Blood Diseases and Resources
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Two Rockledge Centre, Room 10154
6701 Rockledge Drive - Mail Stop 7950
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7950
Telephone: (301) 435-0065
Fax: (301) 451-5453
Email: thomasj@nhlbi.nih.gov

C. Specific Instructions for Specialized Centers of Cell-based Therapy (SCCT) Applications

1. FACE PAGE (Form Page 1*) (*Refers to appropriate form in NIH grant application kit PHS 398)

  • Type "NHLBI SCCT” in the top left-hand corner of the face page above the words "GRANT APPLICATION." Enter in Item 1 the title Specialized Center for Cell-based Therapy. In Item 2, check "YES" and insert Number: RFA-HL-04-017 and Title: Specialized Centers for Cell-based Therapy and Data & Coordinating Center . In item 3, indicate the name, degree(s), and position (or equivalent) title of the SCCT Director.
  • Complete the rest of the page according to the instructions in the application kit, including the signature of the appropriate institution officials. Be sure to attach the RFA label, found in the application kit, to the bottom of the face page on the original application. Failure to use the RFA label could result in delayed processing of your application, such that it may not reach the review committee in sufficient time for review.


  • Provide a brief description of the proposed SCCT in the space provided.
  • Fill in the performance site(s) and the key professional personnel on this form.


  • Do not use Form Page 3 provided in the application kit.
  • Instead, prepare a table of contents that identifies by page number all major parts of the SCCT so that they can be readily located.
  • When listing individual projects and core(s) for a SCCT, identify each by a number, title, and responsible investigator in the order in which they appear in the application. Pages should be numbered sequentially throughout the entire application.


For a SCCT, a detailed budget will be required for EACH PROJECT AND EACH CORE UNIT in their respective sections of the application. (See below under Research Plan in this document).

  • To aid in the review of your application, it is suggested that you incorporate a detailed budget for all requested support for the first year (Sample Table 1 in the Illustrations).
  • For each category in an SCCT application, such as "Personnel," "Equipment," "Travel," and "Other Expenses," give the amount requested for EACH PROJECT AND CORE UNIT with subtotals.
  • If contractual arrangements or "purchased services" involving other institutions or organizations are anticipated (as in project 5 in Sample Table 1 in the Illustrations), include total (direct and indirect) costs associated with such third-party participation in the "Consortium/Contractual Costs" category.
  • In addition, a complete budget for a consortium project is to be developed and identified as such. The published policy governing consortia should be available in the business office of the grantee institution.
  • If clarification is required, Ms. Ryan Lombardi at the Grants Operations Branch, Division of Extramural Affairs, NHLBI, should be contacted at (301) 435-0177.


  • Use Form Page 5 in the application kit to show the total SCCT budget by category requested for each of the 5 years.
  • Justifications for increases in succeeding years should not be included here; they should be delineated in the detailed budget for individual projects.

6. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH (Biographical Sketch Format Page)

  • Prepare biographical sketches as described in the application kit; they should be placed in alphabetical order immediately after the summary budget information.
  • Biographical sketches are required for all professional personnel participating in the individual SCCT projects and core(s).
  • A form entitled "Biographical Sketch" is provided in the application kit.
  • See the PHS 398 instructions for completing the "OTHER SUPPORT INFORMATION Section."


See section 8.b. below, Institutional Environment and Resources.


Each project should follow the format for the PHS Form 398 and provide supplementary information when necessary for each section as indicated below.

  • Describe each research project and each core unit in the same detail required for an individual research project grant application, so that the scientific merit can be judged on the basis of the written proposal.
  • Keep in mind that the proposal will be reviewed by experts who can judge, collectively, all areas represented in the proposal but who may not be familiar, individually, with each area of research proposed.
  • Therefore, the description of a project should be concise yet explicit enough to enable experts in related areas to understand the main thrust of each project.

Page limitations specified for individual (R01) grant applications in PHS Form 398 apply to each project and core unit section

  • Additional information concerning collaboration and integration between projects and cores and the contribution of each component to the program's specific goals should be succinct.
  • It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to ensure that each component is presented as succinctly as possible. Unnecessarily long, wordy, or confusing presentations are usually perceived as indicative of premature or poorly planned research.
  • The bibliography is not counted toward the 25-page limitation per project.
  • The first section described below on “Program Introduction and Statement of Objectives” should not exceed a 10-page limit.

The following sections should precede the individual projects.

    a. Program Introduction and Statement of Objectives

    A SCCT should be viewed as a group of interrelated research projects, each of which is not only individually meritorious scientifically but is also complementary to the other projects in the research program and contributes to the integrating theme. The theme of the proposed SCCT should be established in the first few sentences of the general introduction.

    Describe the rationale for the proposed total research program. Explain the strategy for achieving the objectives of the overall program and how each research project and core unit relates to that strategy.

    The general introduction of the overall program description is the appropriate place to indicate any prior collaborative arrangements between investigators in the group, to emphasize the events that have led to the current application, to anticipated unique advantages that would be gained by the research within the proposed SCCT, to describe how the projects are synergistic and mutually reinforcing, and to explain how the projects collectively would enhance the stated objective of the proposed research.

    b. Institutional Environment and Resources

    Briefly describe the features of the institutional environment that are relevant to the effective implementation of the overall program. As appropriate, describe available resources such as clinical and laboratory facilities, participating and affiliated units, patient populations, geographic distribution of space and personnel, and consultative resources. The information requested here supplants the "Resources" page in the PHS Form 398 grant application, which is NOT to be used in describing the overall SCCT program.

    c. Organizational and Administrative Structure of a SCCT

    Describe in detail, and by diagram, if appropriate, the chain of responsibility for decision-making and administration, beginning at the level of SCCT Director and including investigators responsible for the direction of the research projects and core units. The Director of the overall SCCT is called the principal investigator; the leaders of the individual projects in a SCCT are project leaders. Indicate where, in the chain of responsibility, advisory groups (internal and external consultants) would be used.

    Advisory groups: Advisory groups: Provide a description of the function of advisory groups (internal and external) used to provide advice and quality control. Identify the expertise needed but do not identify by name the external consultants who may be recruited to advisory groups. These individuals should not be recruited prior to completion of application review.

    Specific managerial responsibilities: Indicate who would be responsible for assisting the SCCT Director with the day-to-day administrative details, program coordination, and the planning and evaluation of the program.

    Relation of the SCCT organization to the administration of the applicant institution: Describe the relation between the proposed SCCT and other existing research, academic, and administrative units of the applicant institution such as schools, centers, institutions, departments, and central administration.

    Consortium arrangements: If a SCCT application includes research activities that involve institutions other than the sponsoring organization, the program is considered a consortium effort. Such activities may be included in a SCCT grant application, but it is imperative that a consortium application be prepared so that the programmatic, fiscal, and administrative considerations are explained fully. The published policy governing consortia is available in the business offices of institutions that are eligible to receive Federal grants-in-aid. Consult the latest published policy governing consortia before developing the application. If clarification of the policy is needed, contact Ms. Ryan Lombardi at the Grants Operations Branch, Division of Extramural Affairs, NHLBI, at 301-435-0177. Principal Investigators of SCCTs should exercise great diligence in preserving the interactions of the participants and the integration of the consortium projects with those of the parent institution.

    Designation of replacement for SCCT DIRECTOR: Describe the procedure for appointing a replacement for the SCCT Director, should the need arise. The proposed replacement SCCT Director should meet all of the applicable criteria. The NHLBI must approve the replacement of the SCCT Director should the need arise.

    Designation of research projects for SCCT: In a Table (see Table 3), please provide a designation as to project type under the following 3 categories:

    1. Basic Research
    2. Clinical Research (clinical studies)
    3. Clinical Research (preclinical with transition to clinical studies)

    In addition, provide a rationale for the designation. A research project can also include a combination of basic and clinical research, however, each project should be designated as clinical or basic depending on the project's major emphasis.

    TABLE 3 (Example)

    Research Project Designation for SCCT Application

    Project Number Type of Project
    (Clinical or Basic)


    1 Basic research Animal study - cell delivery and engraftment in murine model of a heart, lung, or blood disease(s)
    2 Clinical research* (clinical studies) Patient study - progenitor cells to treat patients with heart, lung, or blood disease(s)
    3 Clinical research* (combination of clinical and basic) Patient and animal study - stem cell infusion in patients (Aims 1-3) and animal study in a disease model (Aims 4, 5)
    4 Clinical research* Patient studies - Cell treatment for patients with specified conditions (Aims 1-3)
    5 Clinical research* (clinical studies preceded by preclinical studies) Patient study preceded by preclinical studies - animal studies of genetically modify stem cells for later infusion into patients

    * The specific aims or effort and budget must be predominately clinical research as defined in the SCCT RFA.

    Individual Projects (for SCCT applications

    1. Title and number each research project so that it can be readily distinguished from any other project in the program. An individual ABSTRACT should be prepared for each project in the SCCT as would be required for an R01 (individual Research Grant). The title must NOT exceed 56 typewriter characters/spaces. DO NOT provide a face page (i.e., PHS Form 398 face page) for individual projects. Provide the name, and academic title of the project leader and each participating investigator.
    2. The budget for each research project must be presented according to the instructions indicated for PHS Form 398. A detailed budget is required for the first and all subsequent years. Include budget requests and explicit detailed budget justifications for all years.
    3. Research Plan: State the overall objective of the proposed research and explain the relation of the research project to the central theme of the SCCT and how the project relates to, and both complements and supplements, the other research projects and core units in the program. Note whether project is basic research or clinical research.

    a. Specific Aims

    List the specific aims of the research project for the total period of requested support. Indicate the general priority of each aim in the overall research plan.

    b. Background and Significance

    Review the most relevant previous work and describe the current status of research in this field; document with complete references. Specify the overall biomedical significance of the work proposed and the relevance of the research project to the theme of the SCCT.

    c. Preliminary Studies

    Refer to PHS Form 398 Instructions for Preliminary Studies.

    d. Research Design and Methods

    Give details of the research plan, including a description of the experiment or other work proposed; present the methods and techniques to be used; note the limitations, if any, of the procedures proposed. Insofar as possible, describe the experiments in the sequence in which they would be conducted. (It is important to convey to the reader that the proposed effort would require the time requested for the project period.)

    e. Human Subjects

    The NIH policy is that applicants for NIH clinical research grants and cooperative agreements are required to include minorities and women in study populations so that research findings can be of benefit to all persons at risk of the disease, disorder, or condition under study. Special emphasis should be placed on the need for inclusion of minorities and women in studies of diseases, disorders, and conditions that disproportionately affect them. This policy is intended to apply to males and females of all ages. If women or minorities are excluded or inadequately represented in clinical research, particularly in proposed population-based studies, a clear and compelling rationale should be provided. A description of the current policy references can be found on the NIH internet site at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/women_min.htm .

    The composition of the proposed study population must be described in terms of gender, racial, and ethnic groups. These issues must be addressed in developing a research design sample size appropriate for the scientific objectives of the study. This information must be included in PHS Form 398 (rev. 5/01) in Section 8 of the Research Plan (parts a through d) AND summarized in Section 8, part e, Human Subjects Research. Applicants are urged to assess carefully the feasibility of including the broadest possible representation of U.S. racial and ethnic minority groups. However, the NIH recognizes that it may not be feasible or appropriate in all research projects to include representation of the full array of US racial and ethnic minority populations (i.e., American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander). The Office of Management and Budget Directive No. 15 describes these categories; it can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/ombdir15.html. The rationale for studies of single US racial or ethnic minority population groups should be provided.

    It is the policy of the NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them. This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt dates after October 1, 1998. All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the NIH Policy and Guidelines on the NIH internet site at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm .

    For the purpose of grant applications, the NIH policy for research on human subjects includes human biomedical and behavioral studies of etiology, epidemiology, prevention (and preventive strategies), diagnosis, or treatment of diseases, disorders, or conditions.

The usual NIH policies concerning research on human subjects also apply. PHS Form 398 should be followed for human subjects information.

For foreign components, the policy on inclusion of women and children applies fully. Because the definition of minority differs in other countries, the applicant must discuss the relevance of research involving foreign population groups to the U.S. populations, including minorities.

If the required information on research on human subjects is not contained within the application, the application will be returned without review.

Include a Data and Safety Monitoring Plan in the application that describes the organizational structures and procedures that will be employed to ensure the safety of participants and validity and integrity of the data according to NIH policy that can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html . Funds should be requested in the Administrative Core budget for support of a Data and Safety Monitoring Board, if appropriate.

Certificates of Confidentiality

Certificates of Confidentiality can be used to promote participation in studies by assuring anonymity to participants. Certificates of Confidentiality allow researchers to avoid the involuntary release of any portion of research records containing information that could be used to identify study participants. For information about Certificates of Confidentiality, to submit an application, or to request an extension or amendment for an existing Certificate awarded by NHLBI, contact:

Ms. Sheri Hicks
NHLBI Certificate of Confidentiality Coordinator
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
31 Center Drive, Room 5A33, MSC 2490
Bethesda, MD 20892-2490
Phone: 301-496-5931
Fax: 301-402-0299
Email: hickss@nhlbi.nih.gov

    f. Vertebrate Animals (see PHS Form 398 Instructions)

    If animals are involved in a project or core, address all points as specified in the PHS 398 instructions, including the kinds of animals to be used, whether nonhuman primates are to be used, listing the special justifications for their use, and indicate all details for the care, use, treatment, and dispatch of all animals.

    g. Literature Cited

    Include a complete citation for each reference in the text.

    h. Consortium/Contractual Arrangements and/or Collaborative Arrangements (See PHS Form 398 Instructions)

    Describe the collaboration of investigators within the SCCT. Describe in detail any other collaborative arrangements anticipated, either within the applicant institution or between institutions.

    I. Consultants (see PHS Form 398 Instructions)

    Provide a justification for consultants and attach letters from all individuals confirming their roles in the project.

    k. Facilities Available

    Describe the facilities to be used by EACH research project. This is to be accomplished as described under "Resources," in PHS Form 398 grant application, page 15.


Appendix material should NOT be included as part of the grant application. Once the application has been received, the Scientific Review Administrator will send the applicant instructions for submitting appendix material. This material includes reprints pertinent to each project or core, and color or half-tone figures. The reviewers will not receive an original copy of the grant application so the appendix should include either originals of the pages or full size copies of any figures where color or clarity is critical to the review. As the PHS Form 398 instructions indicate, the appendix should not be used to circumvent the page limitations.


A core unit is defined as a resource for the program project that provides centralized services to two or more of the research projects.

    a. Title of core unit

    Title and assign a LETTER designation to each core so that it can be readily distinguished from any other core unit. Do NOT exceed 56 typewriter characters/spaces for its title.

    b. Names and titles of investigators

    Provide the name and academic title of the core unit leader and each participating investigator.

    c. Description of core unit

    Describe the function of the core unit as a resource to the SCCT. This section must present clearly the facilities, techniques, and professional skills that the core unit would provide. As justification for the core unit, indicate briefly the specific research projects that would use the resources of the core unit. A core unit is principally designed as a service or resource component; it would be highly unusual to include research in a core unit (a possible exception would be methodology development). Please contact the Institute staff if you require guidance on this issue.

    d. Facilities available

    Describe the facilities to be used by EACH core unit. This is to be accomplished by completing the "Resources" page included in the PHS Form 398 grant application, page 15.

    e. Budget for core unit

    Present the budget for each core unit in the format and according to the instructions indicated for Form 398. A budget for the entire proposed project period is required for all subsequent years of support (direct costs only). Include explicit and detailed budget justifications for all years.

    f. Relation of core units to research projects

    To aid in the review of your application it is recommended that you prepare in tabular form information concerning the research projects that each core unit would serve and the proportion of the cost of the core unit associated with each research project involved, according to the format presented in Sample Table 2 in the Illustrations.

    g. Illustrations in grant application

    Sample Table 1 is found in all Form 398 applications (Form Page 4) . Preparation of Sample Table 2 is suggested to help the reviewers in the evaluation of a SCCT grant application.

    Principal Investigator/Program Director (Last, First, Middle):
    TYPE APPT. (months)
    Project 1        
    $ 30,000
    $ 3,000
    $ 33,000
    Project 2        
    $ 20,000
    $ 2,000
    $ 22,000
    Project 3        
    $ 25,000
    $ 2,500
    $ 27,500
    Project 4        
    Core Unit A        
    Core Unit B        



    CONSULTANT COSTS: Project 2 ($1000), Core Unit A ($2,000)

    EQUIPMENT (Itemize): Project 1 ($4,000), Project 2 ($3,000), Project 4 ($5,000), Core Unit ($16,000) Core Unit ($2,000)

    SUPPLIES (Itemize by project/core): Project 1 (1,800), Project 2 ($2,000), Project 3 ($3,000), Project 4 ($8,900),
    Core Unit ($16,400), Core Unit B ($18,200)

    $ 79,000
    TRAVEL: Domestic
    TRAVEL: Foreign
    PATIENT CARE COSTS: Inpatient (Specify Project 4)
    PATIENT CARE COSTS: Outpatient (Specify Project)  
    ALTERATIONS AND RENOVATIONS: (Itemize by project/core)  
    OTHER EXPENSES: (Itemize by project/core) Project 1 ($1,000), Project 2 ($1,500), Project 3 ($1,900),
    Project 4 ($1,100) Core Unit A ($1,500), Core Unit B ($2,200)
    Project 5 - Collaborating Institution ($45,200 DC, plus $10,000 F&A Costs)
    TOTAL DIRECT COSTS (Also enter on Page 1, Item 7)

    TABLE 2

    Relation of Core Units to Research Projects
    Core Unit A
    Core Unit B
    Project 1 $ 3,000 $ 6,900
    Project 2 $13,100 $ 6,000
    Project 3 $14,500 $10,000
    Project 4 $10,000 $ 6,000
    Project 5 $20,000 $ 4,500
    Total $60,600 $33,400



    Last updated August 19, 2004